Pimento Cheese Ball

A southern favorite, this EASY Pimento Cheese Ball recipe is the perfect appetizer! Grab your crackers and pretzels, this will be your new favorite snack!

Pimento cheese ball covered in pecans and parsley with club crackers


 

Pimento Cheese is most commonly seen as an appetizer, lathered onto celery sticks or even on crackers, but in the deep south, it is also formed into a party cheese ball!

Whether you slather it on crackers or scoop it up with pretzels, it’s always a crowd pleaser. And so easy to make!

Pimento Cheese Ball Recipe

Pimento cheese is a blend of cheddar cheese, pimento peppers, mayo and cream cheese. When forming it into a ball, you typically use less mayo and more cream cheese to get some structure. The ball is then finished by rolling it in chopped nuts and parsley.

pimento cheese ball in a bowl of chopped walnuts

Pimento is just a fancy word for roasted red peppers, if you aren’t familiar. It originated and is still most popular in the South and sometimes listed as “pâté du Sud,” or Southern pâté or the caviar of the south.

If you happen to find it in the midwest, primarily made with Wisconsin cheese, it might be palmetto pimento cheese or simply palemetto.

Southerners are very particular to how their pimento cheese is prepared and like many regional cheeses there are several “right ways”. There are also many fun variations.

One thing is for sure, it is a chunky mix. It is best made in a food processor with a few pulses (do not just let the machine run, this is not a smooth mix). You can hand mix it in the mixing bowl too, but the cream cheese is hard to blend super smooth.

pimento cheese spread in the food processor

Pimento Cheese Ball Ingredients

This pimento cheese ball is basic, from there you can customize to your liking. Spicy, garlicky, more towards the cheesy side or even switch up the cheese.

bowl of pimento cheese dip
  • Cheddar Cheese– we like to use a sharp cheddar cheese for flavor and texture. You can switch it up and use a combination of sharp and regular cheddar or even white cheddar. We do strongly recommend shredding your own right off the block. Pre shredded cheese has a light coating of starch to prevent sticking which can impact the texture of your spread.
  • Cream Cheese– Gives the ball structure and makes it into a spreadable dip.
  • Pimento Peppers– What is a pimento? Pimento is just a fancy word for roasted red peppers. You can roast them yourself or save some time and buy them in a bottle, most commonly found in the International food aisle near Italian foods or by sandwich condiments and pickles.
  • Mayonnaise– Southerners typically have very strong feelings over what brand of mayo to use. Duke’s seems to be the most preferred brand, but whatever you do, use a good quality brand since it is the base of the spread. You won’t be using as much in a ball as you would in a dip, so it isn’t too much to worry about.
  • Nuts- You can use pecans or walnuts. This helps hold the ball together and give texture. You can also go sans nuts.
  • Add-Ins– from here you can customize for flavor. Garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, chopped parsley or chives and salt and pepper are the most common.

Spicy Pimento Cheese Ball

If you want to make your pimento cheese ball spicy, add 1-2 teaspoons of seeded and diced jalapenos. If you don’t want to mess around with chopping peppers, add 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.

cheese knife cutting into a party cheese ball

For best results, allow your cheese ball to sit and the spicy flavors to marry and sink into the cream cheese and mayonnaise before assembling the sandwich.

Cheeses

Traditional pimento spread uses a sharp cheddar cheese, but you can use a combination of any mildly soft cheese. Some use a medium sharp cheddar with sharp.

Others prefer smoked gouda or white American cheese. I’ve even used pepper jack. Totally your call!

pimento cheese ball sitting in chopped walnuts

As for the nuts for rolling, I used chopped pecans with parsley, but you can also use walnuts. Some folks don’t like nuts at all and opt for just a plain cheese ball.

I do find that it helps to protect the cheese from drying out and getting yucky.

Storage

Pimento cheese balls, any party cheese ball really, has the tendency to dry out. After forming your ball, I highly recommend wrapping them in plastic wrap tightly to seal in the moisture.

nut crusted cheese ball

I do not recommend freezing cheese balls, they don’t tend to thaw at the same texture.

According to the CDC, cheese balls can be left out at room temperature for about 2 hours and be safe to eat and handle.

pimento cheese ball for pinterest

More recipes that use Pimento Cheese:

pimento cheese hard boiled egg on slate serving tray

Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs

If you're looking for a way to step up your usual deviled eggs, look no further than this easy southern Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs recipe!
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pimento grilled cheese sandwich

Pimento Grilled Cheese

Pimento Grilled Cheese Sandwiches are the ultimate grilled cheese recipe using zesty pimento cheese with bacon.
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close up of pimento cheese ball for pinterest
nut crusted cheese ball

Pimento Cheese Ball

4.18 from 29 votes
A southern favorite, this EASY Pimento Cheese Ball recipe is the perfect appetizer! Grab your crackers and pretzels, this will be your new favorite snack!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Combine cheddar cheese, cream cheese, mayo, pimento peppers, garlic powder and Kosher salt in a food processor and pulse it several times until a pale pink and fully combined but still chunky.
  • Form into a ball, mixture will be sticky.
  • Place chopped pecans and parsley into a shallow pie plate or bowl. Roll cheese ball in nuts, gently pressing into it to stick.
    sprinkling walnuts on pimento cheese ball
  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap until ready to serve.
  • Serve with crackers, carrots and celery sticks or other crudite.
    nut crusted cheese ball
  • If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 202 kcal, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Protein: 6 g, Fat: 19 g, Saturated Fat: 8 g, Cholesterol: 43 mg, Sodium: 344 mg, Potassium: 66 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Vitamin A: 486 IU, Vitamin C: 2 mg, Calcium: 158 mg, Iron: 1 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 202
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: party cheese ball, pimento cheese appetizers
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.18 from 29 votes (24 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




Questions and Reviews

  1. Very similar to the one that my Grandmother used to make every Christmas and then New Years eve. Mine has Washtishire, Lemmon juice, and uses both the small jars of roasted red peppers and pemineto cheese or spread, pre-made cheese product made out of sharp cheddar cheese. I like to add jalapeños and cyan, along with tobaccos to spice the cheese ball up a bit. The Lemmon will help to bring out more of the other flavors, apple cider vinegar can also be used as a substitute. If you are allergic to the nuts consider chopping Deli ham, turkey, roast beef, or a mix of spices, even Sunflower. Pumpkin seeds. We also use the same recipe for pinwheels. Adding thin slices of meat, vegetables, and cheese then rolling up tightly and cutting into thin slices. Serving them with a homemade salsa and more vegetables. The Pemineto pairs well with Pepperoni, Salomi, other good Deli meats. Use your imagination, also if you have any leftovers they also make great 👍 grilled cheese sandwiches, with tomato soup or chili, turkey soup on a snowy Winters evening.

  2. 5 stars
    I’m from the South — so I’m very familiar with pimento cheese. My grandma would fix it for family gatherings. I love the tangy flavor on Ritz crackers. This cheese ball idea is inspired. Perfect for our Memorial Day cookout! Thank you so much!